Cured at the Cookie

September 19, 2017

I was pleased to be an early enthusiast for the work of Cured. Young chefs with a passion for flavours and produce who want to forge their own way – that’s the lifeblood of any city’s food scene. And to be based at a bar such as Brewdog – heaven.

So it’s great news that Martin and Oliver are finally back in town with a full-time base within lively independent cafe, cocktail bar and venue The Cookie. They keep the menu format of beautifully stacked platters for sharing – or for one if you’re as greedy as me – plus innovative side dishes and their own take on comfort food. This includes a burger yes, but also a “gobi cheese toastie” featuring spiced cauliflower in a turmeric cheese sauce on sourdough or soft duck tacos with jerked duck and pineapple salsa.

The model has also been moved on. The cures for their key elements are now spirits rather than beer. On your platter you’ll find a little jar of divine orange-scented duck cured and confited with Legendario rum that beats many a rillette in a French bistro. Then there’s bourbon and maple cured bacon like a sweet, fine ham, and purple-tinged salmon cured in Brooklyn gin and blueberries.  As before, the platters are packed with carefully chosen and well-executed extras that more than earn their place – sesame bread, crispy duck fat toasts, herb butter, crunchy house pickles, inspired zingy apple and ginger slaw, dill and pink peppercorn potato salad, apple piccalli, home-made chutneys and more (gluten free available).

small platter

Small platter

The tapas-sized sides now include the like of Vietnamese meatballs with a belting, coriander-rich green chilli jam which knocks spots of most version of this increasingly common condiment. If the newly-opened Pho across the road can do Vietnamese snacks this good I’d be surprised and delighted. Then there’s jackfruit bhaji which combine sweetness and spice in a way that suggests a sophisticated, grown-up version of the guilty pleasure that is a banana fritter.

jackfruit bhaji

Jackfruit bhaji with pineapple salsa

 

attic cocktail

Gin, blueberries, pink peppercorns and dill

This hugely enjoyable food can be enjoyed in the laid-back cafe surroundings of the Cookies ground floor, or the more tucked away environment of the upstairs Attic bar where the chefs’ pal Xander Driver is creating top-notch contemporary cocktails.

The Cookie looks a good cultural match for the business and the food deserves to be both sought out by serious food lovers and those simply out on the town and looking for sustenance (watch out for the late night street food offering from the front of the cafe on Saturday nights). Two people can have a platter and two sides for around £20 – the price of two burgers (but no fries) from Byron.

Taking influences from traditional techniques and from the multicultural cuisines that abound in our city, here is exciting food and a proper bargain. If this was in Shoreditch, the place would be over-run with hipster food writers – as it is, fill your boots Leicester.

 

Cured
68 High Street
Leicester
http://www.facebook.com/CuredLeicester/

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My minor China crisis.

September 15, 2010

I have to say I’m not very knowledgeable, or especially enthusiastic, about the subject of Chinese food. Of course I’ve mainly encountered only the fairly grim version doled from takeaways to those with a beer-prompted hunger and no desire to cook. On the few occasions I’ve ventured into Chinatown to look for something more authentic and of better quality I’ve ended up with gruel and a sneer from shouty waiters. The likes of Hakkasan weren’t around when I lived in London.

In Leicester I do patronise the Marchee Wok, an upmarket takeaway in upmarket Stoneygate, where the food is of fair quality, but even then my usual approach is simply to get a huge tray of their capital spare ribs to gnaw on as comfort  food after the latest dispiriting home defeat for City.

Anyhow there is a bevy of Chinese restaurants now on High Street in the city centre and I can feel myself tempted to give one a try out. Real China  in Highcross looks like standard issue anglo-chinese buffet, while Shanghai Moon looks seems to cater for a predominantly Chinese clientele and has extensive dim sum  menu. It’s somehow slightly intimidating.  And this week come a newcomer, Taste of China. I’ve only been in to pick up a menu but it looks intriguing. The decor and atmosphere is of a fast food cafe, but the menu  has several of the distinguishing characteristics of “interesting” Chinese restuarants – a refusal to explain unfamiliar items for the benefit of insular Brits, imaginative translation and a number of dishes to make you scratch your  head.  Among the items on offer here are “Beef Internal Delicacies” “Beef tendon lo main”, “preserved egg  and salted egg congee”  “luncheon meat and two eggs noodles in soup” and “coffee and tea mixed”. They also serve Borscht.  

I hope there’s not too much of a whiff of “oh those funny orientals” about this. As I said, the ignorance is all mine and I’d like to know more about the food and what I might like.  So has anyone out there got any recommendations either in terms of restaurants or dishes that they’d like to recommend?

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